City of London is to press on with further changes at Bank with one option including access for taxis
Allowing taxis access to Bank junction is one of the options to be considered by the City of London Corporation under its All Change Bank project. Whilst it is not guaranteed, it is still good news that the idea is not dead and buried and officials are willing to consider the views of the taxi trade.
As you will no doubt be aware, on 13th September 2018 the Court of Common Council (the highest committee) voted to make the experimental traffic scheme permanent, despite all the evidence showing that journey times for taxis and their passengers had been significantly affected by the trial.
The ban was introduced under the Bank on Safety branch of a larger scheme called All Change at Bank which is designed to make the area less crowded and much more appealing to visit.
The City’s aims are to...
Reduce casualties by simplifying the junction
Reduce pedestrian crowding levels
Improve air quality
Improve the perception of the area, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through.
All Change is kicking back into action now, with three options are on the table. The option of most interest to taxi drivers is number three, which is effectively the same as it is now, but with access for cabs.
This option offers the opportunity to refine what has already been achieved, and investigate a revision of the vehicle types allowed, timings of operation and whether any further turning movements can be restricted.
It provides the chance for officials to investigate a limited east/west route specifically for taxis. The good thing about this option is that it is the simplest to achieve, some work, including widening footways, is already underway. The negatives, for the authority at least, are that this option offers limited scope for wholesale community improvements, which are often favoured by authorities in this day and age.
Option two leans towards increasing the room available for cyclists and pedestrians, with some space “retained for some other vehicle movements (the type of vehicle is yet to be established).” This option allows the City to make the area greener, with trees, seating, shade, shelter and activity areas, but to a lesser extent than option one.
It does also allow the opportunity for restricting two or three arms of the junction still further, again with some unspecified vehicle access. As things stand, this is the authority’s favoured option.
Option one, is similar to option two, but would provide the greatest amount of pedestrian priority and full vehicle closure. This would also require the rerouting some London buses, with approval needed from TfL, and would take several years to complete.
Whilst the City weighs up all the options, I will continue to make the trade’s case for full access to the Bank and will report in these pages as the discussions develop.
Richard Massett, LTDA Chairman, and Chairman of the London Cab Ranks Committee